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New Iowa Poll: Trump Dominates GOP Race; Mike Suspends Presidential Campaign; New Iowa Poll: Haley And DeSantis Battle For 2nd; Johnson Vows To Move $14.5 Billion Israel Aid Package; IDF: Israeli Soldier Held Hostage By Hamas Released; Federal Judge Reinstate Gag Order On Trump. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired October 30, 2023 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: A new Iowa poll finds Donald Trump maintaining a commanding lead in the state that is going to host the first in the nation caucuses. But there is some interesting jockeying that we're seeing for second place as support for Nikki Haley rises and support for Ron DeSantis, it decreases. One person who is not included in these results is former Vice President Mike Pence, who made a surprise announcement on Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I came here to say it's become clear to me, this is not my time. So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Joining me now to break all of this down, our panel of reporters, CNN's Kristen Holmes, Paul Kane of the Washington Post and CNN's Eva McKend. You were there, weren't you, when that happened?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was stunning. I mean, it was really a surprise, and I'll tell you, they wanted it to be a surprise. They did not want anyone to know --
BASH: The Pence team?
HOLMES: -- that -- yes, that Pence was going to drop out. In fact, I was told that one of the advisors actually skipped the middleman at the conference to give the speech directly to the teleprompter operator in order to not have anyone any leaks for anyone, because they just wanted to make sure he got to have control of his own messaging.
BASH: So, yes, I mean, there's a lot to discuss about the fact that a sitting -- a former -- the most recent vice president, but any vice president only has a race for his party's nomination that last five months long. We know the reason for that is Donald Trump and what he did, what Mike Pence did in standing up, in his words, for the constitution and increasingly criticizing Donald Trump for not impressuring him to try to overturn the election results.
And as we saw, it is still very much Donald Trump's party in this latest -- nationally, but also in this latest Iowa poll. He is so far ahead of everybody else. In fact, let's just look at how locked in Trump's supporters are. This is a part of this Iowa poll.
If you look at all caucus goers, 41 percent to 54 percent. Trump supporters, 63 percent to 37 percent. I mean, it is, as our friend David Chalian says, sticky, sticky, sticky, his support.
PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: It is sticky. And if you went through the last few months of Iowa polls and specifically the Des Moines Register poll considered the best, his support isn't actually growing. It is locked in in that low 40 to mid- 40 range. He leads by a larger number today than he did a couple months ago because support for others, most particularly Ron DeSantis, has collapsed.
Nikki Haley is really -- and Ramaswamy also dropped for five or six points. And so Nikki Haley is the only one who's growing right now, but she's up to 16 percent.
BASH: And I want to look at that in one second, but just staying on Trump for a second. Eva, there was a quote from a Iowa poll respondent as part of this poll, Dennis Canarsky. And he said, "If Trump's not running, I would have to see what the other candidates stand for. Otherwise, it's Trump all the way. He's my hero. Him and Jesus are my heroes." It's quite a statement.
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: It is, and that is what his rivals have to confront. I think that there is bewilderment and frustration among these campaigns. They're careful about how they articulate this. But it is clear they have been campaigning for months fundraising, heavy media blitzes, and nothing seems to be working here.
I think, though, we have seen Nikki Haley, you know, move a little bit. I was texting an --
BASH: Let's look at the -- as you talk, I just want to put up the Nikki Haley numbers, how she has increased in this poll.
MCKEND: I was texting an Iowa state lawmaker this morning trying to get a sense behind, you know, what is the reason for this momentum she's enjoying. And he says he thinks it's the ads that are breaking through.
He told me that she's coming off like your aunt at a barbecue. And he's seeing it on the ground in real time. People sort of shifting into her lane. But will it be enough is the big question.
KANE: She's got -- she's trying to do something that really almost no one else except maybe Tim Scott has been trying to do and it's collect all of these voters who are willing to consider someone else. You know, there is Trump's --
BASH: About 16 percent isn't all these voters.
KANE: I know, but there's --
BASH: But I take your point. She's still went up to 10 points.
KANE: Well, she's at least trying to do that. There is somewhere around 50 percent of Iowa caucus goers who are willing to consider someone else. And people like Ramaswamy and DeSantis are over here fighting to try and win over those Trump voters.
You just showed that poll. Those Trump voters are locked in. You -- someone has to pull together all of these non-Trump voters to present something of an alternative or else this nomination is going to be over really quick.
BASH: So with Mike Pence out of the race, the only aggressively, and he has been the most aggressive aside from Asa Hutchinson, is Chris Christie. And when I say aggressive, aggressively anti-Trump candidate. And in the wake of Pence dropping out, he went on State of the Union yesterday with Jake, and here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is not going to be able to beat Joe Biden from a courtroom in Washington, D.C. while he's fighting his indictment on the January 6th case. And let me tell you, that indictment got much tougher for him to beat when his own chief of staff has now accepted immunity and will testify against him about the lies he told in the aftermath of January 6th.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: He has been consistently on that message. He's appears to be at least qualifying for the next debate, but he is nowhere near where Donald Trump is.
HOLMES: And his message wasn't well received over the weekend with RJC. I mean, they were booing him.
BASH: Republican Jewish Coalition.
HOLMES: Yes, the Republican Jewish Coalition which is where Mike Pence dropped out, in Las Vegas. There was a lot of booing, not a lot of reception there. I will say that almost everyone I talked to in the crowd really, really liked Nikki Haley.
There was no mention of Ron DeSantis. It was all Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley. And this is a different crowd. Remember, most of what I do is I go to Trump rallies. I go to Trump events. This is not a Trump event. This is a very different section of the Republican Party. But they liked her foreign policy. Now they were still happy with a lot of what Trump did for the Middle East. And they said that they would likely eventually back him. But there was a lot of movement in the Nikki Haley. So much so I actually was emailing people about it because I had not heard that at an event recently.
BASH: Really interesting. Thank you all. Appreciate it.
And the new speaker of the House vows to move forward with a multibillion dollar aid package for Israel. But Democratic divisions over support for that country and for the war in particular exposes deep grips within the Democratic Party. We're going to go live to Capitol Hill to talk about this next.
BASH: $14.5 billion, that's how much aid the new House Speaker Mike Johnson wants to send to Israel. But it will tee up a big fight in his first full week with the gavel since Democrats and a lot of Republicans want to link that Israel aid to a larger package to Ukraine.
CNN's Manu Raju is at the Capitol. Manu, this appears to be a top priority for the new speaker, but it's like everything where you're standing complicated.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very complicated. Unclear exactly how this will play out. We do know that the speaker plans to have a vote later this week on a $14.5 billion aid package to Israel, but there are two complications.
One, he is refusing to include aid to Ukraine as part of it, even though Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell just reiterated his support and calls to include supplement funding for Ukraine in a package with Israel. Now, this also comes as Johnson is moving to -- push for spending cuts as part of his plan to offset the $14.5 billion price tag.
That is going to prompt a furious Democratic response. So it is unclear whether he will get the votes to pass this package out of the House, much less the Democratic controlled Senate. Now this all comes at a time of Democratic divisions which are growing over how to express support for Israel.
Last week, when a symbolic resolution passed to reaffirm support for Israel, 15 Democrats, one Republican were not in favor of that. Then one Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer, a prominent Israel supporter in the Democratic caucus, called those members despicable and said they don't speak for our party. One of them, Andre Carson, responded to Gottheimer.
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D), INDIANA: He's cowardly. I think he's not active in the role as a member of Congress. I think he's shown himself to be very emotional. Like most cowardly people, when you confront them, they're afraid. I'm unafraid of the guy.
And if he wants to call us despicable, I'm saying he's a coward, and he's a punk, and he should remember why the people sent him here. And if he wants to play some kind of tough guy, a gangster, we can handle it like gentlemen, and we can get into something else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Now, Gottheimer said in response to those comments that he would sit down with Carson anytime to talk about how bringing -- they can bring the hostages home, provide humanitarian relief, and crush Hamas and all terrorists seeking to do us harm. And I'm told, Dana, that those two members are planning to meet, likely meet, sometime this week. Dana?
BASH: Let's hope so. That's a very important meeting, not just between the two men, but as a symbol for so much of the strife that's going on on this issue in this country.
Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
And our reporters are back here. Eva, let's turn back to the larger issue, which is, I mean, this is all related, the internal democratic fighting about it, but also the larger issue of whether or not Israel is going to get the aid that it says it needs, but also Ukraine. And the fact that you just have this news that Manu reported from Mitch McConnell, the top Republican who seems to agree with the Democrats who run the Senate, that Ukraine and Israel, it should all be tied together.
MCKEND: You know, Dana, there has always been these divisions among Republicans because they are trying to balance, you know, some of the sort of hawkish members and then also this stated commitment to fiscal conservatism. And the foreign aid, there is a conflict with those two priorities. Much was made of the Democrats who did not support the symbolic pro-Israel resolution.
But the one Republican who didn't, Congressman Thomas Massie, one of the reasons he gave for not supporting it was the lack of clarity for how long they would be committed financially to Israel. So, this is something that we're going to see continue to play out and really, Congressman Johnson's first big test.
KANE: Yes. Now, the Mitch McConnell way of doing things is really simple because Ukraine aid sort of divides the Republican Party, Israel divides the Democratic Party, but if you tie them both together, add on some border security for the U.S.-Southwest border, some Taiwan stuff, everybody has something to vote for, and this should pass overwhelmingly.
That's the old congressional way of doing things. Everybody has something --
BASH: Because it sounds like normal and logical. KANE: Yes. But House Republicans have furiously been against this for several years now and that far-right faction that ousted Kevin McCarthy, that sort of engineered this new speaker, Mike Johnson, who we're only learning more and more about now.
They hate the idea of these big, omnibus packages where everybody gets something and it all passes, you know, bigger and better than ever. They hate that.
BASH: But it's the size, which is a big part of it. Of course, you know, you walk these halls all the time and I hear from sources as well. But it's also specifically the concern about Ukraine inside the growing Trump base.
HOLMES: Yes. It's all about America first when it comes to Donald Trump. They think that if you give money to Ukraine, that is not money that will not go back into America. It is a version of isolationism, and it is something that has not been widely popular within the Republican Party, but has become more popular after Donald Trump.
MCKEND: Interestingly enough, I think Vivek Ramaswamy is actually paying for this, though, on the ground in places like Iowa, where there is this split among Republicans there on support for -- financial support for Israel.
BASH: Great discussion. Thanks, everybody.
We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
BASH: Breaking news, breaking good news, Israeli forces say a female IDF soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas during the barbaric October 7th attack was released during ground operations in Gaza. Again, very good news, we are told that she was medically checked, is doing well, and has met with her family. We'll have more on that in a bit.
In the meantime, we want to talk about a federal judge overseeing Donald Trump's federal election subversion case. The judge reinstated the gag order, which prohibits Donald Trump from making statements targeting the special counsel's team or potential witnesses. In true Trump fashion, he responded on social media, claiming his right to free speech was being infringed.
CNN's Evan Perez joins me. Evan? What does this actually mean in practical terms?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: In practical terms, it means that you probably expect the former president to keep doing these social media posts. The judge really has given him a lot of room but, you know, the restrictions are basically to make sure that he's not attacking witnesses, people like Bill Barr, for instance, the former president has been posting about.
People like Mike Pence that he's been posting about in the past. And then, of course, you know, people who are on the staff of the special counsel. What he is free to do is, of course, still say that, you know, the prosecution is politically motivated.
He's allowed to attack the Biden administration and the Justice Department. So we expect that Trump will appeal this because he, of course, is claiming that this is still an infringement upon his -- on his freedom of speech.
But the problem is, Dana, in the end, no matter what the restrictions are, you and I know that Donald Trump will still probably break through those restrictions. And so the question is, at what point does the judge do something about it?
BASH: Right. How is -- well, just like that happened in the New York case.
BASH: He was sanctioned and fined. Thank you, Evan. Appreciate it.
Thank you for joining Inside Politics. CNN News Central starts after a quick break.